The War for Great Talent Rages On Despite Slight Employment Gains

Gains are still coming grudgingly in the U.S. employment market, but for many business chiefs, it seems like boom times again in at least one important respect: The “war for talent” has returned, posing challenges for an increasing number of companies and industries that depend on recruiting and retaining the right people for competitive advantage.

It’s true that improving U.S. joblessness numbers cloak America’s extreme problems of under-employment and long-term joblessness. And many millennials remain frustrated at the lack of opportunity (40% of unemployed workers are millennials). But CEOs whose companies provide talent to other CEOs, in the form of contracted staffers or prospective employees, insist that, in IT and many other white-collar businesses, their clients are facing difficulty in coming up with enough people qualified for the task.

“Traditional HR isn’t working anymore. CEOs need to re-look at how they hire people, focus on what they’re really looking for and match that to their business needs.”

“In many markets, the war for talent is back,” says Susan Marks, CEO of Cielo, a global talent management and acquisition provider based in Milwaukee. “If it was ever gone, it’s back. Companies are starting to find that they’ve really got to work harder than they’ve ever had to in this area. Yes, there are horrible pockets where the economy still isn’t doing well. But the unemployment rate for people with college degrees is only about 3%.”

Meanwhile, Harley Lippman, CEO of Genesis10, told CEO Briefing that the crunch in qualified IT professionals has continued and that he expects it to exacerbate as the economy improves. These days, business for the New York-based technology staffing and consulting company is the best it’s been in three years, Lippman says, and one major reason is that many IT-dependent companies still haven’t figured out the best way to develop and nurture their own tech workforces.

“It’s misleading to say there’s a talent shortage; there isn’t,” Lippman insisted. “The real issue is that traditional HR isn’t working anymore. Companies have a lot of people who are smart and have skills, but CEOs need to commit to training, and to re-look at how they hire people, focus on what they’re really looking for and match that to their business needs.”


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